Monday, July 13, 2015

Sound advice

As if my reading list wasn't long enough already, it's now significantly longer thanks to this Guardian article, for which they asked an assortment of musicians and writers to recommend their favourite books on music. Among those offering their opinions are Beck, Amit Chaudhuri, Jonathan Coe, Brian Eno, Kim Gordon and Viv Albertine - the latter pair the authors of two of the most celebrated music memoirs of the last couple of years.

Some choices aren't hugely surprising - Nicky Wire picking Greil Marcus' Lipstick Traces - whereas others raise an eyebrow. Who knew The Charlatans' Tim Burgess would enthuse about a book tracing the history of COUM Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle, or that former Sleeper vocalist turned novelist Louise Wener would have sufficient taste and good sense to recommend Mark E Everitt's brilliant memoir Things The Grandchildren Should Know?

The latter is one of the few books mentioned that I've actually read. Another is Jon Savage's seminal book on punk, England's Dreaming, as selected by Johnny Marr. I had a few quibbles, but they didn't detract from the fact that it was a thoroughly fascinating and provocative read. Savage (like author Geoff Dyer) has the distinction of both having a book recommended and being asked to give a recommendation, choosing a book about The Beatles. John Harris, author of superb rise-and-fall-of-Britpop book The Last Party, also plumps for tomes about the Fab Four.

The only featured book that was already in my sights was Bob Stanley's Yeah Yeah Yeah: The Story Of Modern Pop, Alexis Petridis doing a good job of convincing me it's a must: "a personal, idiosyncratic route ... through the past". I'm currently stalled part of the way through Simon Reynolds' survey of post-punk Rip It Up And Start Again (through no fault of the book, I hasten to add) - it's a bit surprising that neither that nor Motley Crue's infamous The Dirt merit a mention.

If I was to be asked for my own endorsements, I'd have to refer to Harris' The Last Party and Michael Azerrad's Our Band Could Be Your Life, a series of portraits of the most significant US underground rock bands of the 1980s.

Right, best get reading, then...

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